The mother of a California boy Aiden Leos, who lost his life during a road rage shooting, hopes that a substantial cash reward will help lead police to the killer; she spoke out for the first time since the incident, while at a memorial on Saturday at the site where he was killed.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 6-year-old Aiden was sitting in a booster seat in the back of the family’s car en route to school at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, when a driver cut off Leos’ mother in the carpool lane.
As the mother merged into another lane, a passenger believed to have been in that other vehicle fired a gun, striking Leos.
“Mommy my tummy hurts!” the boy exclaimed, according to his sister, Alexis Cloonan, who described the circumstances of the events during a press conference last week.
On Saturday, the child’s mother, identified as Joanna Cloonan, said that her life feels over after the tragic incident, but she hopes that whoever shot and killed her boy will be apprehended.
“This is not okay…Whoever these people are and for whatever reason, this is not okay. It should never happen again. So whatever help this does, that’s my intention, is for my son.”
Shortly after the shooting, Cloonan pulled over to the side of the road on northbound State Route 55 in Orange, southeast of Los Angeles. She cradled the child, and an off-duty police officer passing by stopped to perform CPR. Paramedics soon arrived.
Leos was later pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital Orange County.
“She had blood on her clothes and then he started turning blue and that’s when the ambulance took him and that was the last time that my mom saw him alive,” Alexis Cloonan told reporters during the press conference on Friday.
She added: “[My mom] had to hold her little boy as he died, so she is very distraught right now.”
Investigators are searching for the other vehicle believed to be involved in the incident, which appeared to be a white Volkswagen wagon sedan, and its two occupants, a man, and a woman. The man may have fired the gun while the woman was driving.
On Monday’s episode of “Crime Stories,” host and legal analyst Nancy Grace pointed out how the public has been angry at Cloonan over her decision to flip off the other driver.
“Is there anybody on this panel or in this studio who has never shot a bird in your whole life?” Grace asked her panel of guests. “As much as I’ve lectured my twins and my husband, ‘don’t do this,’ yeah, I’ve done it. Has anybody not done it?”
“So what? Her son gets the death penalty because mommy gets angry and shoots a bird on the way to school? There are people actually angry at the mother. This is insane.”
A $50,000 reward is currently being offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Part of the reward money comes from a GoFundMe fundraiser set up to help with burial and funeral expenses, which has already amassed close to $200,000.
Meanwhile, Cloonan remembers her son as “unbelievable sweet and loving” and hopes that justice comes quickly.
“It almost felt like he wasn’t human sometimes because he was unbelievably kind and sweet. As I was merging away from the carpool lane, I heard a loud noise and I heard my son say ‘ow,’ and I pulled the car over as soon as possible, and he had been shot. I tried to save him by calling 911, but he was losing a lot of blood — he just didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call CHP Officer Kevin Futrell at 714-567-6000.
[Feature Photo: Aiden Leos/Handout]